Report: Assistant coach Dwayne Stephens linked to FBI probe
Men's basketball assistant coach Dwayne Stephens is the latest name to be linked to the documents seized by the FBI.
Yahoo's Pat Forde and Pete Thamel reported late Friday Stephens interacted with former ASM Sports Agency associate, Christian Dawkins, via email in July 2016, engaging in an alleged bidding war for University of South Carolina freshman Brian Bowen, who was a five-star high school recruit at the time.
In the report, the email recounts the interactions from Dawkins' perspective:
"Dwayne Stephens - Trying to close the deal on Brian Bowen for Michigan State. Trying to do a trade deal for (Spartans) Gary Harris, Miles Bridges, etc."
Along with Stephens, Dawkins also offered Bowen to former Indiana assistant Chuck Martin in exchange for the rights to represent former Hoosiers Thomas Bryant and OG Anunoby, according to the report.
This comes on the same day a Yahoo report revealed federal documents and bank records obtained by the FBI during the years-long probe into the underworld of college basketball.
The report includes expense reports and balance sheets that lists cash advances from Dawkins to a number of prominent players and their families, some of which extend to tens of thousands of dollars.
Friday night's report also revealed Dawkins took a particular interest in sophomore standout Bridges, with documents indicating Dawkins, a Saginaw native, made contact with Bridges' family and Stephens.
In May 2016, Dawkins' expense reports indicate dinner with Bridges’ parents and a $400 ATM withdrawal labeled as “Miles Bridges mom advance.” Cynthia Bridges, Bridges' mom, was also listed multiple times by Dawkins as someone he tried to contact frequently.
The report also says Dawkins said in a July 27, 2016 email he had a late-night meeting arranged with Bridges.
The next day, an email by Dawkins outlined the performance of four college basketball players labeled "our guys" at the Nike Skills Academy in California. One of those four players was Bridges, along with Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame, Xavier’s Edmond Sumner and Iowa State’s Monte Morris.
According to Dawkins' expense reports, Blossomgame, Sumner and Morris received impermissible benefits from him.
When asked for comment, MSU Athletic Communications deferred to Friday's statements by head coach Tom Izzo and interim athletic director Bill Beekman.
“We are aware of the report in Yahoo! Sports," Izzo said in the statement. "While we will cooperate with any and all investigations, we have no reason to believe that I, any member of our staff or student-athlete did anything in violation of NCAA rules.”
MSU will resume play Sunday at Wisconsin with tipoff at 1 p.m.